The Independent has promised that all editorial practices will reflect global standards and hopes to foster debate among new audiences. But critics are weary, fearing that the new platforms will be used to propagate Saudi positions across the region. Such concerns are valid, considering that Reporters Without Borders ranks Saudi Arabia 169 out of 180 countries on the World Press Freedom Index.
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If more countries were halting their weapons deals with Saudi Arabia and the Emirates, the Saudi-led coalition might be obliged to stop their war on Yemen – if nothing else, to save face as well as maintain their political and commercial partnerships worldwide. But some countries, like the US, UK and France, apparently need more than a humanitarian crisis and clear violations of international laws to react.
Its decision to name a collection of journalists is a marker not just of the impact those individuals have made, but a nod to the wider global crisis of confidence in journalism and “the truth”. The nominees are there partly for what they have done, but also for what they have come to represent. From the local to the global, these examples expose the way one of the most fundamental pillars of a free, liberal society – journalism itself – is under assault.
With both the public and private sector heavily relying on money from this particular neighbour, it is no surprise that the ruling Khalifa family cannot afford to think about seeking rapprochement with the Shia majority. However, Bahrain has effectively become Saudi Arabia’s backyard, kept afloat by the Saudi government, Saudi investors and Saudi tourists.
With the constant fear of Ankara releasing the tapes and sabotaging Riyadh’s attempts to deny or conceal their involvement, Saudi Arabia has been caught in a very public tight spot. Forced to repeatedly offer feasible explanations that would then be torn apart by subsequent Turkish leaks, Saudi Arabia’s credibility and reputation have been damaged. For Saudi Arabia, a country currently obsessed with its international image, this must have surely been a uniquely painful experience at the hands of its rival.